With the school year underway, it can be difficult to keep up the momentum to support your child’s adjustment year round. Here are some tips to help your child stay adjusted to school routines and expectations.
Use opportunities, such as parent-teacher conferences, back to school nights and newsletters to learn the behavioral norms and expectations of your child’s classroom or school and reinforce these skills at home. You may even find that some of the language and concepts used in the classroom can be helpful at home.
Younger children are still learning expected behavior and may require more support. Simple opportunities that provide practice with classroom norms, such as, “Let’s try sitting criss-cross applesauce like you do at school” can help your child acquire skills quicker.
Praise Positive School Behaviors
Praise behaviors that reflect behavioral expectations and positive social skills. Examples might include, “Your teacher would be so proud of you for using your one inch voice” or “I really liked how you shared your toys with your sister. I heard from your teacher that you shared well at recess today.”
Although it is beneficial to recognize and praise school successes, such as good grades or awards, it is also important to recognize your child’s effort. For example, a statement such as, “I’m proud of you for trying hard on your math quiz” can support your child’s confidence and persistence.
Sticking to a Homework Routine
Just like bedtime or morning routines, it is helpful to create a predictable homework routine. Stick with the routine as much as possible prior to and after school breaks.
As part of the routine, identify and practice ways your child might seek help when needed, such as asking an adult or taking a short break. Pay attention to your child’s use of effective problem solving of challenging tasks.
If your child resists completing their work, try to fit in homework before a positive activity that your child looks forward to; it may motivate them to complete their work prior to their desired activity.
Help Your Child Maintain Friendships
Feeling socially connected is important to your child’s adjustment at school. Help your child maintain friendships and encourage socialization with friends outside of school.
Depending upon your child’s age, remember that some level of conflict with peers is normal. Listen to their side, validate their feelings and encourage use of positive ways your child can solve their conflicts when appropriate.
In addition to your child’s teacher, inquire about other support professionals, such as the guidance counselor assigned to your child’s grade or external community partners that provide services in your child’s school. Knowledge of these resources can help you act quickly in case your child has any stressful situations that arise during the course of the year.